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Durango Bear-Proofing Study
The City of Durango is partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and conducted a three-year study on effective methods for reducing bear-human conflicts. As part of the study, approximately 900 City residents received wildlife-resistant garbage containers free of charge. The study was conducted from 2011 - 2015. Residents who were included in two designated treatment areas retained the wildlife-resistant containers throughout the duration of the experiment.

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • Distribution of bear-resistant containers resulted in 50% fewer conflicts than control areas (areas that did not have bear-resistant containers).
  • More important is compliance with ordinances to reduce access to human foods (by whatever means)
    • ~60% compliance rate significantly reduced conflicts

View the full PowerPoint presentation called "Causes, Consequences and Considerations for Management of Human-Black Bear Conflicts: Lessons Learned from Research in Durango" by clicking here. A PDF is also available here. For optimal viewing, use the PowerPoint version in slideshow mode. 
  Resident Notification Letter | Bear Study Areas 
Wildlife Provisions
The City's recently updated trash and recycling ordinance sets new requirements for storing trash and recycling containers. On the day of collection, containers cannot be out for curbside collection before 6 a.m. and must be out of the public right-of-way by 8 p.m. These provisions are intended to help decrease the number of bear-human conflicts within our community.

Residents and businesses are asked to store trash containers in a manner that prevents wildlife from accessing them. If your trash is scattered as a result of a wildlife encounter and you receive a courtesy warning violation, within 24 hours you are required to:
  • Store your trash in a secure location, such as in a garage, shed, or enclosed structure;
  • Lease a city-provided wildlife-resistant trash container for $4 per month, or obtain a wildlife-resistant metal dumpster. To sign up for a wildlife-resistant garbage container please call 375-5004;
  • Abide by time restrictions by placing residential trash and recycling containers curbside between the hours of 6:00 am to 8:00 pm on your assigned collection day.

After a wildlife and garbage encounter and an initial courtesy notice of violation, commercial, multi-family, and residential customers are required to obtain a wildlife-resistant container from their waste service provider. All wildlife-resistant containers, dumpsters, and enclosures must be properly used and deployed to prevent wildlife access.

Bear Season
Bear season is typically from April 15 to November 15. Bear proof container

Securing Trash Containers
  • Keep trash containers in garages, sheds, or trash enclosures 
  • Place trash containers out the morning of collection to reduce wildlife encounters
  • Do not overfill trash containers (consider recycling or obtaining a larger trash container)
  • Do not leave trash containers in alleys
  • Bag and secure all trash prior to placing in trash containers
  • Request a wildlife resistant trash container by calling (970) 375-5004.  The rental fee for wildlife resistant trash containers is an additional $4 per month for four years; this fee is applied to the regular trash collection fee. 

Residents' Responsibilities
  • Unlock the lid of wildlife-resistant containers the morning of collection
  • Residents are responsible to ensure their trash and container(s) are secure from bears and wildlife. Owners will receive a code violation notice and may be required to obtain a wildlife-resistant trash container if refuse container(s) is found to be turned over or trash from container(s) is scattered around their yard or in the public right of way.
  • Occasionally clean your trash container with water and ammonia, or bleach (Do Not mix ammonia and bleach)

Please contact Code Enforcement at (970) 375-4930 to report trash violations. 

Commercial trash containerCommercial Business' Responsibilities
Businesses in Durango, whether using trash service through the City of Durango or a private company, are responsible to ensure their trash container is secured from bears and wildlife. Additional trash collection services may be necessary during bear season to reduce the amount of trash scattered from bears and wildlife.

Business owners will receive a trash violation notice if their trash is found to be scattered around the grounds. Business owners will be required to acquire additional trash services and pay all applicable fees.

To request a wildlife-resistant trash container for your business, call the City of Durango at (970) 375-5004, or call your trash service provider.